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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Wrestlemania 2: Death By Celebrities

Sigh. Here we go.

So the first Wrestlemania was a truly amazing spectacle. Sure, looking back on it, it feels a little slow and occasionally underwhelming, but for its time it was revolutionary. Combining big, prestigious, super-show matches with celebrity involvement did wonders for bringing wrestling even more into the mainstream. The involvement of people like Cyndi Lauper, Liberace, Muhammad Ali, and Mr. T made “Rock 'n' Wrestling” THE thing to watch. (Although not the cartoon of the same name. That shit was terrible.)

Unfortunately, the powers that be looked at Wrestlemania 1 and decided the key to its success was CELEBRITIES, CELEBRITIES, CELEBRITIES. So when the next year rolled around, guess what they decided we needed?


In addition, they decided that the added spectacle of having the show take place at three different locations (New York, Chicago, and L.A.) would make Wrestlemania 2 a truly one-of-a-kind, unique experience, and, well, they were right.

It's uniquely BAAADDD!

(Uhh, let's just get this over with.)

First Of All, Holy SHIT Production Shot Up!

You may recall me in my first article pointing out that the biggest show in the history of wrestling began with a slideshow of all things. And I get it; it was only 1985. I wasn't exactly expecting them to bust out anything the caliber of the Miz hype video from Mania 27, but still it was just a little underwhelming is all.

Apparently I'm not the only one who was upset by this, because somebody stepped up their game come Mania 2.

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Lasers! Saxophones! Wrestlemaniaaaa!

We open with Vince McMahon in the ring, the mastermind of this disaster of a show, introducing his celebrity color commentator, Susan St. James.

I'm sure he will in no way regret this.

Those of you who suffer from PTSD-like flashbacks from the Celebrity Guest Host era of Raw (shudders) will probably want to sit this one out. There's a terrible storm on the horizon.

Oh well. At least FREAKING RAY CHARLES IS HERE!

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In case you were wondering, he does just a little bit better of a job than Mean Gene Okerland did the year before. Also, this patriotic-ass video ends in exactly the way you'd expect it to.


Ugh. I Need Something To Wash That Taste Out Of My Mouth.


Oh, Piper. Where to begin? If you haven't seen a Roddy Piper promo before, this is pretty much the definitive place to start. It has everything. Psychotic ramblings, hilarious WTF comedy, and good old fashioned racism. But we forgive him for all of this, because he is the only man that can work “tiddlywinks” into a Wrestlemania promo and not have anyone find that weird.

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Now if only this promo was hyping up anything other than a Wrestlemania boxing match.

Well Maybe At Least The Wrestling Will Be Good On This Show. We Begin In New York With Don Muraco And Paul Orndorff.

My, you have fallen down the card, haven't you?

So that production value I mentioned earlier. Something, uh. Something's going on with it.

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Also, Orndorff apparently turned face over the course of the past year. Oh, don't worry though. He's still a horrible person. Here he greets Mr. Fuji in the assiest way possible.




As for the match itself, well it's pretty good for the first three minutes. Then, uh . . . it's over. From a double count-out of all things.

Dis gon be a good show.

In those initial three minutes, however, we do get some excellent lines from Susan St. James, such as “Uh-oh,” and “Watch this.” She also speculates about the use of some “Ancient Chinese Techniques,” which makes me wonder what the fuck part of China she thinks Mt. Fuji is in.

The match ends, and no one really seems to know what the hell happened. Except for the crowd, who happily chants “Bullshit” at the whole affair. I can't imagine why.


Okay, So We're Off To A Rough Start. I'm Sure Things Will Pick Up As The Show Goes On.

Yes! Called it!

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And we get our first Wrestlemania appearance of “The Macho Man” Randy Savage, otherwise known as the best thing ever. Macho defends his Intercontinental Title against George “The Animal” Steele, who, if you don't know, does shit like this.


So, in theory, this should be a sweet match. Both men are larger than life characters who garner strong reactions from the crowd. Plus, it's for the Intercontinental Title. Back when it was still important, even! On paper, this match has Wrestlemania written all over it.

In practice, however, it's a lot of this.




Oh wait, that last one was from something interesting.

After the bite fest, these two men proceed to beat the crap out of each other with a bouquet of flowers.



Aaannnnnndddd a turnbuckle.


Then Savage wins with his lesser known finishing move: sodomy.


And it's okaaaay. I mean, it's better than most of the matches on this card, but it's really just a poor, poor use of the Macho Man. Fortunately, next year makes up for all of that, but I'm still deducting points from this one all the same. Maybe I'm just being hard on this match because despite how short it is, Susan St. James still said “Uh-Oh” fourteen hundred times.

Now Here's A Football Player.


So this guy's name is Bill something, and if you were a big football fan in the eighties, hey, maybe you've heard of him. Mean Gene brings him out to hype up the big football player battle royal later. Oh by the way, there's a big football player battle royal later. Hooray!

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This interview isn't actually important. I just put it here because it's another example of production problems, and I felt like the world should know how good Bill here is at trash talking. He should have just called him Stan Darsh.

Now It's Time For, You Guessed It, Wrestlemania Squash Match.


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We're still doing these, huh?

Well squash match may not be the right term, George Wells here gets in far more offense than SD Jones did. But seriously, tell me this man is not a jobber.


This is also poor use of talent because I'm pretty sure Jake “the Snake” Roberts is the second best thing ever, which you can see from his wonderful overselling.

Now I know where the Rock got it.

But, as you can guess, this match lasts for about a cup of coffee, which is a shame because George Wells seems pretty awesome. He does a freaking headscissors! I didn't even know those existed until I was watching Nitro in 1996. Sadly, things do not go his way.


So Now Let's Get Ready For The Main Event. Wait, What?

Here's where this show feels weird. This is the main event of the New York portion of the show. After this, we move on to Chicago and it feels like the show starts over. It's not one big rising crescendo, it's three short ones. It's just a very strange pace, is all. And imagine if you were one of the people in the New York crowd that day. You get those opening three matches (totaling roughly 13:00 of action) and a NEVER-ENDING boxing match. Then you get to watch the rest of the show on a monitor.

But, it's the MAIN EVENT, so we have to go through the whole spiel of introducing all the celebrity guest judges, announcers, and what-the-fuck-evers who are only there to be shown in highlight videos. Also, these celebs are not quite on par with the ones from the first Mania. Joan Rivers is there, which is kinda interesting, I guess. You can at least see what she looked like when her face was still human.

Mystery solved.

Also there is G. Gordon Liddy of all people? I think that's the equivalent of having Rob Blagojevich be the guest timekeeper today.

And bringing up the rear is somebody named Herb, who, thanks to some top secret internet sleuthing, I've discovered was a popular mascot for Burger King.

After discovering this, I watched “Where's Herb?” commercials on YouTube for half an hour because it's more interesting than this pile of ass.


I hate boxing. I don't have anything against it; I just don't find it very interesting. I feel the same way about MMA. Just different strokes for different folks. But I think everyone can agree that a fake boxing match between two people who aren't boxers is fucking boring.

So this match is like a million hours of ugly rabbit punches and awkward hugging. Then Piper does this:


because he was well aware that the match sucked too. Shortly afterwords he bodyslams T, causing the match to end in disqualification, because we couldn't even give the crowd a chance to pop for a knockout blow.


And with that, we're done in New York. Thank god. Now let's give one final fuck-you-farewell to Susan St. James and her awful, awful commentary.

To Chicago!

Gorilla, what the hell are you wearing? Did your suit go through a bleach storm?

So at this location, our guest commentator is Cathy Lee Crosby, who I'm assuming, based on the other celebrities involved in this show, was the spokesperson for Taco Bell or something. Fortunately, she is by far the most tolerable of our guest commentators, possibly due to the fact that she never says anything. Chicago uses a three-person commentary booth, which I like to think was a decision made on-the-fly due to Susan St. James's bullshit.

Now Let's See What Happened To Women's Wrestling Over The Course Of A Year.


So as you remember, one half of the double main-event of the first Wrestlemania was Leilani Kai versus Wendi Richter for the Women's Championship. The match was heavily promoted, due to the involvement of MAJOR CELEBRITY Cyndi Lauper. It was an intense, back-and-forth match that has been featured in highlight reels for years as an iconic moment.

Fast forward one year, and we get Fabulous Moolah beating Velvet McIntyre in a minute and a half and nobody caring.


I believe the story behind the rushed finish has to do with a broken bra strap (you can see McIntyre trying to cover herself up), and the match was going to be much longer. But this is the same show that started out with a three minute double count-out, so who the fuck knows.

Oh Boy! Now For An Equally Short Flag Match!




You have now watched this match.

Annnnnnddddd Main Event NUMBER TWO!

So we go through the celebrity rodeo again, which this time includes Dick Butkus, Ed “Too Tall” Jones, and the Where's The Beef Lady (no I'm not joking). Then we cram the ring full of fourteen wrestlers and six football players to do this for ten minutes.


Easily the most over person in the match is William “Refrigerator” Perry (a Chicago hero), who the crowd erupts for despite the fact that he seems to be wearing some sort of thong?


Still, this is the most involved I've seen the crowd for this entire show, so I guess I'll take it.


The battle royal is won by Andre the Giant, when the Hart Foundation succumbs to their only weaknesses. Surprise ghost attacks...

And severe ball trauma.

Really got a handful there.

This Show Has Me So Bored, I'm Actually Excited To See These Assholes.


Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake here are defending their tag titles against the British Bulldogs, Davey Boy Smith and the Dynamite Kid. The Bulldogs are managed by Ozzy Osbourne, who I imagine only showed up for the free coke. I'd like to make fun of this match, but it's too slightly above average to do so. It gets what I'm dubbing the Steamboat/Borne Award for being a nice, solid wrestling match amidst a myriad of dog turds.


Admittedly this match is nothing special, but it is such a breath of fresh air to see a nice, back-and-forth battle that actually breaks the ten minute mark. And heck, that brawl has more energy than the last five matches combined.


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The match ends when Davey Boy sacrifices his partner for the victory. Then Captain Lou gets in the ring and demonstrates how much more “Captain Lou” he became over the course of a year.

And with that we are finally done here. I want to thank you all for reading, and . . . wait, what?

There's More?!

UnnnghgnhnghhgnghnhghhghgNHGNHHGHGHGHGHHGH!

Okay, I Guess We're Not Done Here.

Sigh, so here we are in Los Angeles. Our commentary team is Jesse “The Body” Ventura, and these two albatrosses.


And our thirtieth match of the evening is Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat taking on Hercules Hernandez. I feel like this match was probably pretty good, but I died of boredom shortly after it started and can't really tell you much about it. Thankfully, at some point my television became possessed by Satan, and it terrified me back into existence.

Gah!

When I awoke, Steamboat had won.

Thank God. We Finally Have A Match That's Comically Bad, And Not Just Boring!

So, uh, here's this.


That would be “Adorable” Adrian Adonis. He is taking on Uncle Elmer.


I would like to remind you all that you are watching an actual wrestling event, and not a parody of one.


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Seriously, I could make fun of this match, but just the fact that it happens brings a smile to my face. Oh, it's bad. It's bad. Adrian Adonis's “Adorable” gimmick is the sort of thing that should piss off pretty much everybody, and Uncle Elmer is the worst wrestler on this show. And this show had several football players wrestling earlier. But I mean, how can you be mad at this?


I've been pretty frustrated by the short match lengths on this show, but giving these two only four minutes is a travesty of justice.

And Now Here's This Crazy Ol' Bastard.


I love Terry Funk. He can scare the shit out of you. He can make you laugh. But most of all, he can make you believe you're watching a crazy, old cowboy who's drunk off his ass and ready to fight.


Also, side note about this Wrestlemania journey. Tito Santana is already growing on me. This flying forearm is friggin' sweet.


So, yeah. This match is awesome. Maybe it's just that the Uncle Elmer match kicked some life back into me, but the L.A. portion of this show is actually really good.

Good Thing Hogan's Here To Put A Stop To All That.

And yeah, I'm calling bullshit on these. Show me his feet right now.

Before this match starts, I would like to direct you all to the Seinfeld is Unfunny TV Tropes page. It discusses the opinion that Seinfeld isn't a funny show in this day and age because all of the jokes have been done before. This is ironic, because in reality, Seinfeld was the first show to do these jokes, and it has simply been copied thousands of times over the years.

Hulk Hogan is Seinfeld. Despite what I've said, I'm not a total Hogan hater. But watching Hogan battle injury and insurmountable odds to defeat Large Wrestler With Evil Manager is something that just doesn't hold up in 2013. I've seen it. I watched Hogan do it, I've watched Sting do it, I've watched Austin do it, and I've watched Cena do it. I'm sure watching this in 1986 would've been the coolest thing ever, and I would've loved to see Hogan to get revenge on that evil bastard King Kong Bundy. But times have changed; I don't watch wrestling just to see who wins anymore. I'm here for the show. And this isn't a bad show, it's just a rerun.








Oh well. At least this is the only Mania main event that follows this formula, right?

Right?

So After All Is Said And Done, Is This The Worst Wrestlemania Of All Time?

No.

It's just the worst so far. LOL! Anyway, thanks for reading.

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